Metrology for accurate and traceable nanoscale 3D measurement
The demand for smaller and higher-performance electronic devices in our everyday lives requires the development of increasingly smaller and more sophisticated nanoscale components. Yet current techniques to measure the dimensions of nano-objects are inadequate for emerging needs, as the uncertainties involved are too great to meet the requirements of industry and scientific research. Conventional 3D metrology, using coordinate measuring machines, is accurate to almost one nanometre, but an emerging class of scanning probe microscopes (SPM) have the potential to exceed this level of accuracy beyond the nanometre level. However, standardised SPM techniques, traceable to reference measures, have not yet been devised. This project has built on the achievements of EMRP project NEW01 Trend by developing SPM-based approaches to measure objects in three dimensions, which can be traced reliably to reference measures. More accurate nano-measurement supports the development of new and higher-performance devices in fields as diverse as medicine, energy capture and storage, and space exploration, offering the potential for broad technological and societal impact.